BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota’s attorney general said Tuesday that if a Republican state House candidate who died earlier this month wins one of two seats up for election, the GOP would choose his replacement unless enough district voters call for a special election.
David Andhahl, 55, died on Oct. 5 after he had been sick with COVID-19 for several days. Andahl and fellow District 8 House candidate Dave Nehring won the Republicans endorsements and voters’ nominations in the June primary. Kathrin Volochenko and Linda Babb are the Democrats seeking to capture the seats.
Secretary of State Al Jaeger said it was too late to remove Andahl from the ballot. Early voting had begun up to two weeks before his death.
Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem’s opinion says that if Andahl is elected to the post, the office would be deemed vacant. Under state law, a committee representing the party of the previous office-holder would fill the opening by appointment. Voters within the district are allowed to petition for a special election.
Andahl and Nething knocked off one of North Dakota’s most powerful lawmakers, Republican Rep. Jeff Delzer, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee. North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, a Republican, gave more than $1.8 million to a political action committee that successfully targeted Delzer’s seat.